Throwback Album of the Week: Turn on the Bright Lights by Interpol
By Nick Post of Ghost Pressure
Interpol's debut album, Turn On the Bright Lights, turned fourteen this year. I turned twenty eight.
I distinctly remember when their music video for "PDA" came on television as I got ready for high school one morning in 2002. I stood in awe - 7AM, backpack on my shoulders - listening to the dark textures and twangy, nervous guitars. Singer Paul Banks came on the screen, dressed in all black, aviators on. I was hooked. Who were these mysterious guys in well-tailored suits?
That morning had a profound impact on me. I didn't know it at the time, but it would shape my musical taste in the years to come and set me down a path that led me to surround myself with the music, art, and people I do now. It wasn't just about the intense downstroke guitar work on "PDA" or the melancholic crooning on "The New". For a teenager who never really related to the over-the-top spectacle of bands like Taking Back Sunday or Brand New that dominated the sonic choices of my high school peers, Interpol provided something intense and emotional, yet it was polished. It held back tastefully. It played it cool. And since I caught them right when they released their debut, I felt like I grew up with them over the years. Their successes were my successes.
I stood in awe watching them on television that morning, though I had to wait for a school trip to NYC later that month before I could sneak away to a Tower Records and buy the album. I stood in awe again when they finally played an all ages show and I got to see my heroes in person. And I stood in awe again when I shook guitarist Daniel Kessler's hand at a Tame Impala concert this past June.
2. Obstacle 1 - A bassist can make or break a band and Carlos D. really shines in this track. Guitar riffs are angular and dangerous, drum and bass lines weave in and out of each other until the song climaxes in a great exhale.
3. NYC - Artists are very often at odds with where they're from and no one does 'brooding' like Interpol. NYC is part love song, part revulsion, part apathy and part resignation and hones in on the isolation of big city life perfectly.
4. PDA - With big drums, textured guitars and expert bass work that always finds it's mark, PDA is cool in that apathetic sort of way that only the early 2000's could have cultivated.